Wednesday, December 31, 2008

HyperStudio is Back!!!!

An old friend is back in the classroom!!

HyperStudio is a program that has enabled students to share their ideas, thoughts and creations through a multimedia for many years. I have had the good fortune to use it with students in my classrooms and share it with educators on 3 continents.

Unfortunately, this wonderful program was sold to Learning.com in 1999 which resulted in a series of flawed updates. Eventually, this lead to the program disappearing from the educational scene about 5 years ago. The originator, Roger Wagner, bought back the rights a few years ago and enlisted MacKiev to completely reprogram the product. The new product was announced at the 2007 NECC in Atlanta but it never shipped. MacKiev showed it again at the San Antonio NECC in 2008 and it began shipping earlier this year. HyperStudio is BACK!!!

I must admit that I haven't had the opportunity to thoroughly examine the new version, but I liked what I saw at NECC. HyperStudio now has the capability to export to self-contained programs, webpages, podcasts and even iPhones. It is fully integrated to share media with iTunes and iPhoto. The opportunities with version 5.0 are great.

Philip Roy gave positive reviews about HS5 in his NZMac blog.

I look forward to working with HyperStudio 5.0 in the future.
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Monday, December 29, 2008

You DON'T have to be an Expert

As a teacher, you DON'T have to be an expert in using technology before you allow your students to use it.

This is probably the greatest barrier to integrating new technologies in the classroom. Many teachers believe that they must master technologies before allowing students to use them. Teachers often feel that they must be their students' safety nets in case they fail. This is NOT the case. Teachers should be the instigators of thought and investigation, but they should allow their students to explore ways to express themselves through a plethora of new technologies.

This attitude is something that is explained through a slideshow created and displayed by Mike Fisher in the 1 Thing project that Clif Mims is running over at his blog, Clif's Notes.

JustOneThing


You might notice that Mike Fisher created this slideshow using MyPlick. This is a site where you can upload your slides, synch them with your voice and then share them with friends. It is REALLY easy to share them with friends. I just use their embed feature to transfer this file over to this blog posting - no muss, no fuss. You will probably see me begin to use this in the future. It is Tres Cool!!
Tags: Web2.0 classroom technology tools
apps

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Webspiration: Inspiration on the Web

Inspiration HAS DONE IT!!!
The folks at Inspiration have developed an on-line version of their prize-winning software gem and named it Webspiration. Thinkers, large and small, have huddled around computers for almost two decades using Inspiration to help them organize and develop their ideas. They have worked alone and in groups but the limitation has always been that they could only diagram their ideas on a single computer at a time.

Webspiration elevates Inspiration to the level of online collaborative work tool. Students create an account and then can create diagrams/outlines that are saved on the Inspiration server. Having these maps online makes them accessible from any computer. This is handy for students who want to work on their diagrams at school, home and ??

Collaborative? Yes, the creator of a diagram can share it with collaborators by sending invites to friends who have Webspiration accounts. Collaborators can sign onto Webspiration and work on common diagrams whenever they are interested. Multiple collaborators can also be online simultaneously and work together on the diagram. The only limitation is that the they can't work on the file at the same time. As the video shows, one person works as the editor and the other collaborators are spectators until the active editor passes control over to the next person in line. This makes it less collaborative than Google Docs that allows multiple collaborators to work in a document simultaneously. Is this a problem? It can be. I found that some of my students were OK with waiting in line but others became quite frustrated when they had to "holster" their creativity until it was their time to emote.

Watch this short Jing video that I created to demonstrate Webspiration in my ISTE Webinar.



Watch a larger version of this demo at http://tinyurl.com/5cnxr4 (3 minutes to download)


What's it cost?
Right now Webspiration is free! The folks at Inspiration have identified the present version of Webspiration as a Beta Version and they want you to get online and give it a try. They even provided a place where users can provide feedback (although I couldn't find it just now when I checked the most recent version.:-)

Give it a try. Go to http://www.mywebspiration.com and try out the Inspiration of Tomorrow.

For more information, visit the MyWebspiration site.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Children CAN Make a Difference!


I just found a moving video through Facebook. It is entitled “The girl who silenced the world for 5 minutes.” This video depicts a 13-year old girl, Severn Suzuki. who addressed the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. She and four other children in their organization, Environmental Children’s Organization traveled from Vancouver to Brazil to tell the adults at the conference that they must stop destroying the world.

There is no way that I can explain the emotional impact that this can have on you, so you should watch this yourself. I don’t know what difference this girl’s speech had on the UN conference attendees but it is a fine example of a self-motivated person working to impact the world.

"Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has." (Margaret Mead)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Macintosh Enters the Netbook World

I love the opportunities that the new mini-laptops (also known as netbooks) have provided for learners and users. This idea began with the OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) which originated with Nicholas Negroponte at MIT. He was the advocate who went to vendors with a vision of a minicomputer that ultimately weighed only 3.2 pounds. I bought one of the first XO computers and am constantly amazed at its capabilities.

Asus was also a pioneer in this field with their Eee PC (Wikipedia says Eee comes from "Easy to Learn, Easy to work, Easy to play.") They say that they now have an all-day netcomputer with a battery that lasts 6-7.8 hours.

The missing player has been Apple. Why hasn't Apple thrown its hat into the netbook ring so that we can edit our videos using iMovie '08 (ouch) on a 2.2 pound OS gem? Well, I DON'T KNOW. I would guess that Apple is having a problem with the idea of creating a computer that costs less than $500. While I am an Apple evangelist (not at the Guy Kawasaki level but I luv my Mac), Macintosh computers are typically priced higher than their competitors. Personally, I think that these computers are worth paying a few extra sheckles to own a Mac but $500 may be too low for Apple to get its typical profit margin.

Never fear!!! I just found some resources on the web that can help you find eternal satisfaction by having a Mac OS netbook under your arm.

These resources include a rumor about Apple releasing a netbook at the MacWorld 2009 and, for those of you who can't wait until January to see/have a Mac netbook, I have found a site that tells you how to load the Leopard OS onto a netbook.

Mac Netbook at MacWorld 2009
Rumor has it that Apple will be announcing a Mac netbook at MacWorld 2009. While it appears that Steve Jobs is not going to be doing his typical new product introduction at MacWorld, InformationWeek is reporting that pundents are predicting a Mac netbook that will probably run about $599. Technically this doesn't place them in the true netbook (< $500) genre, but it Apple has never been a company that cares about labels. It is also predicted that Apple will justify the additional $100 expense by offering "an array of content, applications, and games through the App Store, which is accessible through the company's iTunes software." Information Week predicts that this will be released mid-year 2009.

Hadley Stern of Apple Matters provides "5 Reasons Why An Apple Netbook will be Released at MacWorld." Hadley says that these reasons include 1) The economy, 2) Chips, 3) The iPhone, 4) Jobs gets to say he invented it, and 5) Extend iTunes reach. It is a lot of logical ideas that are based upon Apple's history. These ideas are fun to read and I think that they can support InformationWeek's predictions.

Running OS X on a Netbook
If you can't wait until July to have a Mac netbook, Wired magazine's site has a video by Brian X. Chen entitled Running OS X on a Netbook. This video shows you how you can make a couple of small chip changes on an MSI Wind Netbook and then load Mac OS X onto the computer (Note: this is a hacked version of Mac OS X which is illegal so I am just sharing this with you as an exercise in exploration.) How well does this run the Mac programs? I don't know, but wouldn't it totally freak our your friends if you opened your MSI netbook to reveal Mac OS X?

Well, I don't know the exact future plans that Apple may have in the world of netbooks but I predict that by this time next year I will be writing this blog on NetMac (or whatever they intend to name them.)

Photo: flickr.com/karenilagan/

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Dr. Z Turns into a Potato


Well, it finally happened.

Dr. Z has turned into a potato. (This photo used to be a live, interactive animation, but I got tired of him saying "Hey, Cheer up! Why the long, gnobbly face?" everytime I returned to this page, so I screen captured it. You can see the animation of you use the links in the next paragraph.)

Thanks to the twitter referral from Gina Hartman, I have spudded myself. This Spud Yourself website is run by Walkers Crisps (I believe they are similar to Frito-Lay in the States.)

It allows me to write my own script (text-to-speech) or I can use their pre-recorded pieces. The only problem is that the computer voices that red the text are pretty bad. It would be great if they allowed us to upload our own voice files.

Spud Yourself - It will be fun!

How to Make a “Terrific” Web Show


I just found a 10-minute video on Epic FU on how to make a K-A Web Show. Epic FU identifies themselves as the Zadi Diaz runs through a epic list list of resources that you can use to create your own video shows. Fortunately they have a list of the scores of resources that Zadi introduces. Epic FU uses the Epic FU blog to support each of their broadcasts with additional resources. While this video appears to be designed for Web-based video producers (be they professionals or teenagers), this could be an Awesome resource for educators who want to integrate video into their learning environments.

They referred me to a place that I hadn’t seen before – wikiversity. This is a place I had never visited but it appears to be where you can learn about a myriad of topics for free. It is run by the Wikimedia Foundation that is the same group that runs Wikipedia. They specifically linked us to the Filmmaking page which they describe as “a preparatory school for budding filmmakers who plan to go to film school or take classes in motion picture production.” I haven’t tried wikiversity before. What are your experiences?

Personal Note: This is funny, I feel a difference in the voice that I am using when I discuss using video in education versus using it in the “Real World.” Why is this? Is it because of the “anything goes” feeling of a production like Epic FU. When we are working with students we have to worry about propriety.

Epic FU says "popular culture -- it's about conversation and interaction." Is that our problem? That's funny. Good teaching/learning is about conversation and interaction too. Are we doing that enough?

I don’t know about this. What are your opinions?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A New Look @ Research-Based Keyboarding Instruction

Last summer I wrote a white paper for Sunburst Technologies, A New Look @ Research-Based Keyboarding Instruction, which was a review of the existing research in teaching keyboarding. I want to share this document with you because I believe that it is an important overview of what has been found out about best practice in teaching keyboarding and addressing the needs of students in their pursuit towards becoming efficient and effective keyboarders.

Admittedly, this document was sponsored by Sunburst Technologies but that doesn’t reduce the importance of the research synthesis provided here.

A New Look @ Research-Based Keyboarding Instruction

If you have further interest in Teaching Keyboarding and the research behind it, visit my blog - KeyboardingResearch.org It is filled with references that you might find useful when you are trying to answer questions about keyboarding or need research to support what you are trying to do in your classroom.

photo: www.flickr.com/atcbugman

Friday, November 28, 2008

Consumption Causing Global Warming


Wake Up, Freak Out - then Get a Grip from Leo Murray on Vimeo.

Leo Murray has released a dramatic illustrated video, Wake Up, Freak Out - Then Get a Grip, that talks about the scientific and social causes of Global Warming. He explains the scientific process but takes it all the way to the potential social implications of the global warming effects. This change will not be an either/or situation where today we aren't affected and tomorrow we are. As global warming brings gradual change, many humans will take extraordinary measures to hang onto what they have.

I must admit that I had not thought of the societal implications of global warming as citizens work to keep what they have. As some countries are dramatically affected by rising sea levels and erratically violent weather patterns, their inhabitants will look for somewhere else to live. This will cause a mass migration to already stressed nations throughout the world.

Murray's video doesn't leave us with Doomsday Despair. He talks about how reduced consumption is a matter that all of us need to address. We need to identify what it is that we need and how that differs from what we want. We need to reduce, reuse and recycle to relieve the strain on our planet.

This world is the only one we get. In the 70s we tried to tell the world about the impending implications of overconsumption. I have been actively recycling for over 40 years. I can't say that I am the beacon of conservation, we all need to make conscious changes in what we do and how we think about consumption.

I STRONGLY suggest that you watch Leo Murray's video. Teachers: You MUST preview this video before you share it with your students because there are some sections that are almost scary to consider. But consider it we must as well as act upon it beginning TODAY.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Story Visualization

I was just reading Guy Kawasaki's blog, How to Change the World, when he referred to Garr Reynold's Blog, Zen of Presentation. I had never heard of this blog before but it is filled with Garr's reflections on "issues with professional presentation design." We talk about Visual Literacy in our classes but Garr is living it. He discusses how the media succeed and fail in using visuals to convey their messages. Looks like he has a book called Presentation Zen.

One of his postings that I found exceptionally inspiring was entitled "Beautiful example of the visualization of a story." He discussed the D-PAN (Deaf Performing Artists Network). This is an organization that creates "media designed specifically to serve deaf audiences through the use of American Sign Language (ASL). It would be repetitive to post them here, but Garr has embedded samples of videos the D-PAN created as well as a CNN new report. The message that they "have a dream" is beautiful.

Oh, well . . . I guess I will be repetitive by embedding the "Waiting for the World to Change" Video here.



P.S. I also found Guy's posting
The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint This is where Guy says that no PowerPoint should have more than 10 slides, last longer than 20 minutes or use a font less than 30 pt. The first two were incontrovertible, but he got soft on the font rule by saying that you should take the age of oldest person in your audience and divide by 2 to determine your minimum font size. That would mean that I would cause you to use 27.5 fonts. Should be interesting. ;-)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Map Generators are Easy

My Travel Map*
Although I am not a worldly traveler, I saw Paul Glazowski make a reference to this Simple Map Generator
on the Mashable blog and it suggested that I should map out the places I have visited. I did so and the resulting map is embedded above. It actually lists all 215 countries (yes, I counted them) on seven continents and all that I had to do was click on the checkbox to select a country. While simple, this utility has an incredible potential for allowing students to "color in" maps for a variety of applications.

This Google Maps/Earth hybrid that is hosted by 29 Travels can be used to chronicle one's travels or visually identify the groups of countries or create comparative maps that can be used to document chronological change. This is a simple though effective answer.

How do you envision using it in your educational setting?

*You might note that this map is not embedded in this posting. I tried it, but it didn't format properly and took too long to load. SOOOO, I simply included a screen capture of the map and then linked it to the original map.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Comparing News Articles from Around the World

I was just reading the EdTech listserv to which I belong (how's that for fancy writing? ;-).
A teacher was asking about how she could use Google to compare news perspectives from different newspapers around the world.

I was fortunate enough to have attended Alan November's presentation at the ITEC conference in Des Moines last month where he explained how you can do this. After a little experimentation, I was able to reconstruct these steps for finding news articles that are written in specific countries about specific topics.

Let's assume that you want to compare news articles about the President-elect Barack Obama. You want to see what they are saying about him in Poland. You can go to google.pl to use the Polish Google but it will only direct you back to the articles here in the US.

The best way to find articles published in Poland is to search only the Web addresses that end in .pl (Polish domain):
  1. Begin by selecting the Advanced Search option on Google.
  2. In the "Search within a site or domain:", enter .pl (this will limit it to URLs in Poland).
  3. In case you don't speak Polish, select English or your native language in the Language section.
  4. Enter Obama in the Search box at the top and you will have a huge list of Polish-published articles that are written in your native language.
Here is a link to an advanced search page that would achieve this.

This could also be used to compare articles on a specific topic that were published in the Los Angeles Times (latimes.com) or the New York Times (nytimes.com).

This could be a powerful tool for learning about the world peoples' opinions on thing that happen in the U.S. and elsewhere.

I am interested in whether you have ever used this in your classes? If so, how did it go? If not, how do you envision yourself as using this strategy?

photo: flickr.com/cikku

Thursday, November 06, 2008

AECT Google Forms Example

This form was created using Google Docs Form. Please fill it out so that we can see what it looks like to have the information appear in the Google Spreadsheet.






Sunday, October 19, 2008

Using Google Form for Surveys


As you may or may not know, Dr. Z and Garey G are giving a presentation at ITEC 2008. It is entitled Dr. Z and Garey G's Creative Cookbook for Collaborative Communication. During that presentation, they will be sharing the incredible opportunities available through using Google Forms with Google Docs.

Hopefully, they will have an auditorium full of laptop-toting folks so that they can enter their information into this form. If you would like to make your own contribution, no matter where on earth you are, please complete the form below. You might even tell us of your actual location in the last field.

It would be useful to have your input but it would EXTREMELY IMPRESSIVE if you could add it between 3:00 - 33:0 Central Standard Time.
That way the could see you doing it live.






Sunday, October 12, 2008

Tools for Video Authoring

Ever create a video and upload it to YouTube? Everybody's doing it. Although the statistics haven't been openly available since Google acquired YouTube for $1.650,000,000 (in Google stock), Comscore estimated that in January 2008 alone, nearly 79 million users had made over 3 billion video views.

Here is a video by Jon4Lakers about how to make a video using Macintosh iMovie HD and upload it to YouTube. It is not too complicated. You will note that he did this video while on a studybreak from "writing essays for business school" (note that it has been viewed almost 11,000 times - not bad for a studybreak.)

Jon4Lakers was also courteous enough to provide some instruction on how to use Photobooth on his Macintosh to create YouTube videos.

Wondering how to do this with Windows Movie Maker? It is a little more complicated, but JohnGregory08 from Australia provides a 10-minute video about using MovieMaker to create a video.

Want to know how to do specific things in Movie Maker?
Atomic Learning has a set of 63 free videos for Windows Movie Maker 2.

Screencasting
Wondering how to share what's happening on your screen? This is called a screencast. There are a number of programs that you might want to use: Snapz Pro X (Mac) or Camtasia (Windows)

Another option for screencasting is Jing. This is a free, on-line version of Camtasia by the same company, TechSmith. Dr. Z has already posted on Jing in an earlier blog posting. It is a powerful tool that will allow you to create an online video up to 5-minutes in length. Read his posting to learn more about it.

Here is a video that demonstrates and explains Jing.

The world is full of examples of educators using videos to involve k-18 learners in expressing and exploring new ideas. Here are a few examples. Those of you in the EIT class should have received invitations for becoming authors in this blog so add your own examples (followed by your name). If you aren't from this class but have ideas, add your suggestions as comments:
Photos: www.flickr.com/Aster-oid, jon4lakers. atomiclearning.com, jingproject.com

Resources for Building in Second Life

Now that my Emerging Instructional Technologies class is exploring Second Life and playing with the opportunities, I have been researching more into how to Build for Second Life. We have the good fortune of having a "Mansion in the Sky" over Iowa Island. The designer for our house is Spirit Finucane (see photo on the right.)

I was talking with Spirit yesterday after she helped me out of a jam. I asked her where would be a good place to begin learning about building in SL and she directed me to the Ivory Tower Library of Primitives (SLurl).
I had visited this place before, but hadn't spent much time there. It is a GREAT FIND for anyone who wants to learn about building. It takes you on a step-by-step progression through the process of building. Begins with defining the shapes of prims (primitive objects) and builds up from there. Each level of accompanied with a notecard that explains the concept. I learned a lot!!! Will have to return soon to continue with my education.

I have been looking for videos of "building lessons", but haven't found any overall resources. There are a few videos that I have added to the 10/2 posting of Readings/Watchings/Listenings/Doings for my Emerging Instrutional Technologies course.

What have you found for Building Resources. I plan to update this page as I learn more from my readers and as I explore the world. (I must admit that I am sitting at a coffee house right now that has a woefully slow wifi system so I can't explore SL much. Will update later.)

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Dr. Z Reflects Blog Up for Blog-o-the Month in Second Life

BIG NEWS!!!

My blog DID win the "Blog-o-the-Month" for November at the Blogger's Hut on ISTE Island.
===========================


My blog, Dr. Z Reflects, is "in the running" for "Blog-o-the-Month" for November at the Blogger's Hut on the ISTE Island in Second Life. I must admit that I am awed by the contenders. They include Westley Frier, David Jakes and Scott S. Floyd.

The winner will be selected through a good-natured poll that takes place in the Blogger's Hut in Second Life.

If you would like to vote in this poll (and hopefully support Dr. Z), you can get to Blogger's Hut by clicking on the Slurl below. As you may know, a Slurl is a URL for a location in Second Life:
  • When you click on it, you will go to a webpage that says "Welcome to Second Life."
  • Click on the "teleport now" button.
  • Second life will now open on your computer. You must enter your username and code.
  • Once you enter Second Life, you will teleport over to the Blogger's Hut. When you land, you might want to turn your avatar around to get your bearings.
  • You will see 4 colored bars with "Dr. Z Reflects" on top.
http://slurl.com/secondlife/ISTE%20Island/9/129/23

The Blogger Hut's manager, Scott Merrick, has even created a video describing how to vote.

Thanks for your support and I hope that things go well with you. See you In-World.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Unleashing the Tribe!!! Ewan McIntosh

Just watched (and listened to) Ewan McIntosh's presentation, Unleashing the Tribe: Small Passionate Communities. WOW!!!!


It is a 25-minute discussion of how the real technologically-based world of our students is affecting or should be affecting our educational system. He discusses the importance/opportunity of social networking in our students' lives and hopefully education. He notes that we, as teachers, need to question the comfortable ways that we teach. We need to stretch ourselves to connect with students to make the content more relevant and meaningful to the students.

McIntosh (don't know what kind of computer he uses) discusses how teachers are stuck in the model of having to master skills and material before introducing it to their students. If we wait until teachers master the technology, we will never progress. It is not about learning the technology it is about using the technology to provide learning opportunities that were not previously available. He states that "Technology is not transformative, it is pedagogy that is transformative."

An especially poignant point that Ewan makes is the connectedness of students and the lack of connectedness of teachers. He shows a "friend wheel". This is a socio-gram that shows how individuals in a group of FOF (Friends of Friends) are connected. It shows a great link between students and virtually NO links between teachers. Now I can see that some teachers might be reluctant to create "friend" links with their students. It is a sad commentary when teachers don't link to one another.

We need to turn the page in education. We need to make students more responsible for their education. As teachers, we need to look for various methods for attaining desired ends. I will pontificate upon this more in another post, but I wanted to share this presentation with you now.

BTW, you will note that Ewan is using Slideshare.net to house his presentation. He has a number of presentations there. Most of the rest of them are just the PowerPoint presentations which you have to click through manually. This presentation looks like an enhanced podcast where he has taken the audio track and then placed the PowerPoint slides in appropriate spots. There are many ways to do this but I don't know how he did this. He could have captured the sound and presentation using software like ProfCast. Or he could have used a digital recorder like the Zoom H2 to record the presentation and then used GarageBand on a Macintosh to add the slides.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Mathway: It Solves Math Problems

I just bumped into Mathway on a tech coordinator listserv that I get. It is an interesting site. You can enter math problems that range from basic math through calculus and it give you the answer. Good or Bad? I don't know.

I began by entering a formula, -3y+3x=-7(x+3) (don't be impressed, I found it on the page). It asked me what class I was taking that required me to complete such a task and I selected Pre-Algebra. I clicked on the Answer button.

I progressed to a second page where it gave me a wide selection of what to do with the equation. Look to the right and you can see the variety of opportunities that I have available to me.

As an ignorant purist, I decided to continue with the more mundane opportunity which was to Solve the Equation. It asked me which variable I wanted to "solve for." I selected y.


The next page (see left) was a total surprise to me. It did SOOOOO much more than just give the value of y. It took me on a step-by-step progression through what one would do to "solve for y". It showed each step, explained what needed to be done, and even had hyperlinks to a glossary for words that I didn't understand. WOW!!!


As if this wasn't enough . . . it graphed the answer for me.




There was even code for embedding this equation and linking to the answer from my blog (see below). This will be terrific for teachers/students who want to instruct how to complete specific equations online.

Click Here to Find the Slope and Y Intercept

QUESTION: Is this a good t
hing?

Is it a good thing to give away the answers like this? Will students use this website instead of their own ingenuity to complete their homework? Will this be used for cheating on tests?

Probably!!!

There will be learners . . .no . . . students who use this site inappropriately. I call them students instead of learners because they won't be learning anything if they use this site to cheat. BUT if they use this site to help walk them through math problems that they are learning to complete in class, this site could be QUITE valuable. It is the next step after putting the answers to all of the odd-numbered problems in the back of the textbook.

This is the sort of interactive site that can place the learner at the center of his/her education. This is where the serious learner can access individualized tutorials to improve personal learning.



Thursday, July 31, 2008

Podcasting from Your Phone

Podcasting is a great way to record what is happening or what is on your mind, but the technology is sometimes daunting for some educators. That's too bad because usually simple is best. Cell phones are in everybody's pocket in schools today. Yes, school policy usually restricts students from having cell phones at school, but they have them anyway. Wouldn't it be interesting to find an academic application for them?


I just returned from joining 15,000 of my best friends to ride our bikes across Iowa (500 miles) in a week. This was an annual experience called RAGBRAI and I rode with Team Flamingo. This experience is something that I wanted to share with my friends and readers so I created our Team Flamingo blog. I tried to maintain the text-based blog, but the wireless access was limited from the back of my bike. =-)

I tried posting to our blog using by texting from my Treo 800p smartphone, but Verizon decided to add 9 additional lines of advertisements to the end of each of my posts. I called up Verizon and went to their stores to find out how to stop this but it wasn't possible.

Ultimately, I decided to use my phone to post audio podcasts to my blog. It was easy to call the 888 number and leave updates about our progress. It was easy, it was quick and it was effective.
The coolest part of it was that I could embed the podcast receptor into my webpage/blog. This made it easy to access and enjoy.

I used GCast. It only took creating an account and then putting the receptor on my webpage/blog. I called up the GCast phone number, 888-654-2278. I entered my secret code number. Then I created the podcast. When I was done, I could review the podcast to approve or deny its posting. Once I have approved the podcast, it was posted within minutes. Best of all, this is FREE. You can even upload files from your computer if you want to include a file that you custom-made instead of limiting it to the phone versions. I found that I could even subscribe to the RSS feed of my GCast podcast using iTunes.

A similar service is Gabcast. You call a toll-free number (they provide phone numbers for multiple continents) and leave your thoughts through your phone. Gabcast has a three levels of service. The free version doesn't allow you to upload files from your computer but you can do that for $6 or $12 per month. Paying for the service will provide you with more storage space services as well. One capability that I found in Gabcast that didn't seem to be in Gcast is that you can link to individual recordings. They suggested that you could use this to verbally explain things like eBay postings or interesting webpages.

Westley Fryer wrote an informative article about these sorts of tools entitled Mobile Digital Storytelling for The TechEdge: The Journal of the Texas Computer Education Association. This is an informative article with lots of links if you want to learn more about it.

I don't know that this storytelling is the only way that students will benefit from this mobile digital recording system, but it provides an exciting way to chronical throughts, ideas and experiences.

Have you used these tools? If so, share what you have done.

Z

Monday, June 16, 2008

Second Life Tutorials

Here are a few tutorials on the web that I have found for Second Life.

From the Web
Video Tutorials
Second Life Tutorial website
Complete Fool's Guide to Second Life

In Second Life
Harbinger's Haven - Builder's Sandbox Tutorials
http://slurl.com/secondlife/Lozi/239/94/26

Please add additional tutorials as you find them. Post them as comments.

Z


Web 2.0: Gadgets, Gizmos, and Widgets

Here are some additional resources to supplement the materials that I have provided on my presentation wiki.

Classroom Blogs
Overall Blogging Examples
Blogging Utilities

Instruction & Tech Conference for 21st Century Learners

I am attending the Integrating Instruction and Technology for the 21st Century Learner conference in Storm Lake, Iowa today. It is being sponsored by the Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency.

There is a wonderful collection of offerings today. The keynote on all three days is Doug Johnson. He is a good presenter and today is doing a great job of laying the foundation for integrating technology into our curriculum in his presentation "The Technology? Skills Every Student Needs."

I will be presenting later today. This presentation, "Web 2.0: Gadgets, Gizmos and Widgets." It is my review of over 20 goodies that I like. You can find the wiki I have created with all of the links that I will be using.

This is also the first day of the Emerging Instructional Technologies class that I am teaching this summer. Robin Galloway is subbing for me today. Even though I am away, I can't stay away so I Skyped with the students this morning before the keynote address. It worked quite well. Good to see the students. Can't wait until I get to meet them in person tomorrow.

Sitting in Doug Johnson's follow-up session. Cited the Mitri Group's report on the success of technology in education.
He has provided a wealth of information in his 28-page handout.

Well, I better get back to the conference. Will update this blog posting as time progresses. This is how you can get an on-going update of this conference.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Doodle 4 Google

Just found a fun art contest sponsored by Google.

There is a video on YouTube that introduces you to the guy (Dennis Hwang) who draws the various thematic title pages for Google. It shows a time-lapsed video of him creating one with a couple of mice on it.

When he is finished, he tells you about the contest for k-12 schools. Kids can sign-up their schools to participate. The winner's doodle will be shown on Google for a whole day.

Check it out!!! The 2008 winner in at http://www.google.com/doodle4google/

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Technology Does Make a Difference!

Recently I was reading our local paper, The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, when I found an article reviewing a recent lecture given by Dr. Michael Bugeja. Dr. Bugeja is the director of the School of Journalism and Communication at Iowa State University. He seems to be a well-published author, but he seems to be on a one-man crusade against using technology in education.

As you might guess, I didn't agree with him on most of his ideas. I had listened to him on our local Iowa Public Radio station a few months ago and didn't agree with him then either. In fact, I called into the station to talk with him. We had just gotten the discussion going when the engineer at the station disconnected me. I was later assured that it was an accident.

Anywho, I read this article about a speech that he gave at the University of Northern Iowa and decided that I needed to share my side of the argument as well. Below you will see the letter to the editor that I wrote. I found writing this letter terribly therapeutic in many ways. I got to relieve my pent-up frustration from seeing this ludite educator receive all of this press. I also had a chance to share ideas about technology's role in education.

I hope that you like my letter and will share your insights with me. Better yet, if you DON'T like it, respond with where you think that I went astray:

Dear Courier Editor;

I am writing in response to Dr. Michael Bugeja comments as he “railed against the infusion of technology in the classroom.” I didn’t attend his hour-long talk that was covered in the Courier on Saturday, April 26, but I DID hear his interview on KUNI a couple of months ago on The Exchange. At that time he said that technology in the classroom was unnecessary. It was an unneeded expense for students and schools. He said that a good lecturer could make a teacher-based lesson engaging and that we didn’t need technology for that.
Admittedly, a good lecturer can be riveting. Descriptions of events can be useful. But how can a verbal description of Tiananmen Square replace a video of a single individual confronting a cavalry of tanks, which is easily accessible on YouTube. (http://snurl.com/25wql) How can it equal using Google Earth to transport the class to an interactive birds eye (and somewhat 3-D) view of Tiananmen Square? How can it match the impact of using a video conferencing program, Skype, to actually talk with someone in China who was at that monumental confrontation in 1989?
It can’t.
Our world is permanently linked. We have the opportunity to connect our classrooms with the rest of the world in a way that has never before been available. We have the resources that can turn the traditional didactic teacher-based instructional format into an interactive student-based learning experience that will enable our students to be active participants in our global society.

Sincerely,

Leigh E. Zeitz

Graphic from www.budapestsun.com

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Blogs and Wikis at IACON 2008

IACON 2008 is where it IS HAPPENING in Iowa this week.

I will be presenting a Web 2.0 Tools workshop with Will Coghill-Behrends and Rebecca Anthony from University of Iowa. They will be discussing ePortfolios and Social Networks. They will cover Classroom 2.0 (even talk with Steve Hargadon over Skype) and then introduce the group to Ning - Your Customizable Social Network.

Classroom Blogs
Overall Blogging Examples
Blogging Utilities
Create Your Own Blog
  • Blogger - Quick and easy blogging spot.
  • WordPress - Takes a little longer, but includes tagging and couple of other treats. It's worth the extra time.
Wikis
  • Wikipedia - The encyclopedia created and edited by "the masses".

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Wikimapia - The People's Mapping Utility



Wikimapia combines Google Maps (including satellite imaging) with a wiki system. This was created in 2006 to allow users to "Describe the whole planet Earth." This is your opportunity to identify your favorite place and then add descriptive information. It will allow you to embed the image like the one I have here on this posting or you can just have a link to it like this one.

Above, you can see an aerial view of the local Kwik Star here in Cedar Falls. For those of you who don't live in the midwest, Kwik Star is a convenience where you can purchase everything from gas (petro) to coffee to pizza to soda. It is a popular haunt of students and local residents alike.

You can add your own comments to the description of this Kwik Star (or anything else in WikiMapia) by just clicking on the box and then adding your comment. You can also add a vote as to whether or not it is an accurate description of the area.

WikiMapia is a Wonderful way for bring geography alive for students and teachers. It allows us to be part of the mapping process. You can mashup blog postings with mapping with audio commentary with ????

Give it a try.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

How to Combat Griefing

This is a continuation of an earlier posting where I told you about begin griefed (also known as a strong-arm robbery.)

I don't want to sound like a whiner, because there are many things worse than having a rude Italian (see earlier posting) invade your house and demand money. But I want to share some of the things that I have found out about griefing. Many you can post some of your own ideas as comments.

Griefing is, in simple terms, harassment. It can come in all forms from "just talking badly to you" to "caging you" to "shooting you". The important thing is to know what to do when you have been bothered.

The first thing that you need to do is document the happening. I know that it's annoying to have to think about documentation when you are being bothered, but it will pay off in the end. You need to document by taking a photo of the happening. Take a snapshot so that you have proof of it happening and you have the offender's name. This can be used for later actions.

Taking a Photo: Just go up to the File menu and select "Take a Snapshot." This will complete a screen capture that will save to your desktop.

Sit Down: One of the things that griefers can do to you to harass you is to "Cage you." This means that they actually put a cage around you and then they can spin you, fly you or just detain you. Apparently, none of this works when you are sitting down. So if someone begins to harass you, you might want to just take a seat. No chairs around? Either create a box or have sit on a chair that is in your inventory.

Get Out of There: Griefers are there because they want some attention. Vacate the premises and there won't be a reason for them to be there. The easiest way is to hit the "Teleport Home" button under the World menu. But even if you don't go home - go somewhere else. Stay there 5 minutes and then return.

Report the Incident: Second Life has a system for reporting abuse. Go to the Help menu and you will find a Report Abuse selection. This will bring up a report screen that will provide you a place where you can fill out the details. I haven't reported last night's incident yet, but I can do it today if I wish. It appears that I just need to tell them the location and the approximate time and the investigating committee can open the scripts to find out what was said and to verify what happened. They will then act accordingly. You can find out what happened by checking the "police blotters" a little later.

While this is indeed Second Life in a Virtual World, no one has the right to invade your privacy or take things from you. This is true in Real and Virtual worlds. Following these steps for dealing with such actions are good practice for whatever world you inhabit.

Z

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I have been Griefed!!!


It never rains in Second Life and we never have to worry about crime, right?

WRONG!!

I was in our Ed Central Center in Second Life the other night when an individual came into our house and said "Give me something to do. I need some money." Taken aback, I talked with him. He claimed that he needed money to get a motorcycle like I had. (I don't have an SL motorcycle but found one parked outside our house a little later.) He said that he needed this motorcycle to get a job.

I don't remember his name but I did find out that he was Italian. I asked "Why are you being so aggressive about getting this money?"
"Because I am Italian," he replied.
"Does that give you an excuse for being so rude?" I queried.
After that, he was still insistent but prefaced each of his demands with "Please".

I just wanted this guy out of my life so I gave him a 4-wheeler car that I got for free at a freebee SL site. He left with this, only to return a couple of minutes later asking how to get it to work.

After he left, I realized that I felt violated. This guy had come to my house demanding money and I paid him off to get out of my life. Do I feel unsafe in SL? Not really. My SL account could disappear and my Real Life wouldn't be any the worse for it. But I AM somewhat concerned about the safety of the stuff that I have been working on in SL. It isn't the value of the stuff in the sense of money, but the time that I have spent developing the environment in which we live.

What should you do when you are being griefed? I will discuss this in my next posting.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Yugma - a FREE solution for Webinars and Courses


Looking for a free way to broadcast those webinars or provide course connections where you can share your computer screen while you discuss ideas with your students? Then Yugma might be your answer.

This online solution will provides an interface that is relatively easy to sign onto and very easy to use.

In all fairness, only the introductory package of Yugma is free. It is limited to 10 attendees, desktop sharing, free teleconferencing, whiteboard, public/private chat, and MS Outlook/Skype compatibility. THAT'S ALL. But that's ALOT!

My colleague, Robin Galloway, did a great review of Yugma after we played around with it last week. You should check it out.

I searched YouTube for some video support and found 3 videos about Yugma (also found a cute young boy named Yugma whose parents like video record and post them on YouTube as well.) This video shows how Yugma can be integrated with Skype.




If you want to enjoy other YouTube videos about Yugma you can go here.

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Google Sites ROCKS!!!


Just found out about Google Sites. It appears to be the next step in the Google Tools quest to create a world of online application tools.

"Google Sites, a new offering from Google Apps, makes creating a team site as easy as editing a document. Use Google Sites to centralize all types of information -- from videos to presentations -- and share your site with just a few people, your entire organization, or the world." sites.google.com

I must admit that I haven't been able to do much more than create an account but it is an interesting process:

Google asked for my email address. Since it was Google, I thought that I would insert my gmail account (leigh.zeitz@gmail.com). Interestingly enough, when I hit the Return key, Google responsed with "Sorry, we are not servicing this domain yet." 0-;

So I entered my regular email account at the University of Northern Iowa and it took it. Google Sites told me that it would send me an email to validate the email account.

WOULD YOU BELIEVE that the email the sent me said that they had validated the domain, uni.edu, and it had the UNI Panther connected to it? How connected it that? Actually, I looked at the list of the 20 UNI folks who had discovered this before me and it was good to see that some of them were students in our Educational Technology minor.

This looks like a wonderful addition to the Google tools and it will revolutionize the meaning of collaborative writing/invention/innovation.

First thing I did to keep from having to read anything was to jump to YouTube.com and here is a video that was create by the Google folks. It is narrated by Scott Johnston who was the VP of Product Development at JotSpot.com As you may know, JotSpot was purchased by Google a while ago and this is the first JotSpot product released under Google's name.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Great Resource for Techies

Just found a great resource for videos on how to use technology. It is called Ask the Techies. I was amazed by depth and breadth of the videos that are there. It's over 60 videos.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Quick Online Video Captures R FREE!!!

Ever want to make a quick tutorial or make quickly share some ideas or problems that involve showing what is on your computer screen? Sure, you can do this with Camtasia or SnapzPro, but I am talking about Free and Online!!! I recently found a few free online programs that will allow you to do this:

Jing is a system that will allow you to take a screen capture or create a screen video with narration and instantly upload it to share with others. This involves a small program that will download onto your Mac or Windows computer. It is quite easy to do and you can watch a Jing video about this at Jing Video.




Freescreencast is another online video capture program that makes creating and sharing short screen videos easy for you to do. Like Jing, it allows you to upload your files to the freescreencast.com website or save the file for your own personal use. It even gives you the option of embedding the video into your blog.

I am told that there are other online programs like this out there like this. Please leave a comment if you know of any of them.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Keeping Score on Who's Using Your Blog

Ever wonder who is actually looking at your blog? Does it seem like you are writing a lot but no one is responding? There ARE services that you can use to track your blog activity. Many of them are free. They are making their money with Google ads and the like or, as with ClustrMaps, when your site becomes so popular that you are willing to spend some money to get a more sophisiticated reading on your visitors.


is a service that you can use for tracking Blogger. You just need to add it as one of the services for your Google/gmail Account or go to http://www.google.com/analytics/ to sign up. Google Analytics will ask you to identify the blog you want to follow. It will also provide you with some specific code that you need to add to your blog or web page that you want to track. This is so that it can ensure that you are someone who is authorized to enable such a tracking and so that it knows where to store the information in its own database when it reviews your website.

is a visual world map that keeps track of "Where in the World" are your viewers. Look in the upper right corner of this blog and you will see such a map. It's kind of neat when you consider that I have viewers on five continents (need a new friend from Africa.) You can add this to your blog or website by just going to http://clustrmaps.com. They will also provide you with a handful of code that you need to add to your site, but it's worth it. It will also tell you how any hits they have recorded since you began using clustrmaps.

There are a bunch of other trackers that you probably use. Leave some suggestions as comments for this posting.

Image: www.crann.tcd

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